Wednesday 13 December 2017

Wood Downbeat Despite Fightback

Tom Wood was in no mood for platitudes after England lost their Test series to New Zealand in Dunedin.

After running the All Blacks close last week, the Red Rose were beaten 28-27 on Saturday, putting them 2-0 down with a game left to play.

They dominated the first half but only led 10-6 at the break and were then blown away by the world champions.

They recovered with late tries from Mike Brown and Chris Ashton, but Wood knew it was nothing to celebrate.

"It wasn't good enough," he told Sky Sports 1.

"It's as simple as that. We went to sleep and they were just too good for the 10-15 minutes at the start of the second half.

"It's disappointing after all the good work we did. We gave them a cheap penalty to get them back into the game and then they had a surge. We couldn't get our hands on the ball.

"A couple of key decisions we didn't get right... Went the wrong way into heavy traffic. But we scared them a bit. The opening 10 minutes of the second half will never be good enough."

Asked if he could take consolation from a strong finish, he added: "I'm pretty despondent. We came here to win, we had them on the rack. We talk about lessons but it's not good enough."

Coach Stuart Lancaster opted to take a different view.

"We showed some great character and great class," he said.

"We had one or two opportunities we didn't take. We had them under pressure but in the third quarter they were exceptional.

"We got back to 28-27 and that's great character. We played well in the first half but if you kick loosely their back three can kill you.

"When we look at the tape and the opportunutues we missed, we'll be a better side. We are playing a side at the top of their game and went toe-to-toe with them.

"We have quality players back in England. We won't pat ourselves on the back for losing by a point."

Tries from Ben Smith, Julian Savea and Ma'a Nonu took the match beyond England's reach and victorious coach Steve Hansen said: "It was a great game of rugby.

"Sometimes there is only one point in it and England never gave up and scored on full-time.

"We can be very proud of our performance."

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